why ritual works


Researchers Francesca Gino and Michael Norton from Harvard Business School conducted a research study on rituals in the context of loss and grieving rituals. What they find is that people who went through a ritual in the hard times feel less grief than those who didn’t. Here’s an excerpt from a blog post that they wrote in Scientific American

While we wonder what this person’s co-workers and neighbors think of their shaky acquaintance, such rituals – the symbolic behaviors we perform before, during, and after meaningful event – are surprisingly ubiquitous, across culture and time. Rituals take an extraordinary array of shapes and forms. At times performed in communal or religious settings, at times performed in solitude; at times involving fixed, repeated sequences of actions, at other times not. People engage in rituals with the intention of achieving a wide set of desired outcomes, from reducing their anxiety to boosting their confidence, alleviating their grief to performing well in a competition – or even making it rain.

See the rest of the post here.

Making Meaning
Design as Religion

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